I find the patent system laughable.
-1- For the small guy it is just a way to publish your technology so it can be used by other bigger fish sans compensation. How many lawyers can you afford to pay full time?
-2- Its a great way for big companies to bully little ones.
When I worked at Honeywell we engineers were encouraged to apply for patents. If Motorola sent a stack of paper 6 inches tall Honeywell wanted to be able to respond with a stack of paper 12 inches tall.
Who but a big company could afford the herd of lawyers required to fight such battles?